TOPIC:“The Grace of Giving Thanks”
TEXT:I Thessalonians 5:11-24
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18)
Robert Louis Stevenson, one of the most famous writers of the 19th century, once stated: “The man who has forgotten to be thankful has fallen asleep in life.” Sometimes I believe this has happened to us. We forget to be thankful! The Apostle Paul would never allow this to happen to him. He was not only a prayerful prisoner, but he was a PRAISEFUL prisoner. He was first in line in offering to God his gratitude.
No less than forty times does this man Paul use the verb and noun denoting thanksgiving. Listen to the spirit of gratitude as it flows from the heart of this first-century Christian: "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all" (Romans 1:8). "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God, which is given you by Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 1:4). "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you" (Philippians 1:3). "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Colossians 1:3). And four times in Paul's letters to the believers at Thessalonica he sounded the note of praise. “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers” (I Thessalonians 1:2). “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 2:13). “How we thank God for you! Because of you we have great joy in the presence of God" (I Thessalonians 3:9, NLT). “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, for it is fitting” (II Thessalonians 1:3).
I like the words of Paul S. Rees regarding Paul at this point: “Paul always appears in what we might call the garment of praise. He wore gratitude as a man wears a suite. The graces of praise and gratitude were woven into the fabric of his life.” What a beautiful description of a first-century Christian.
On this Thanksgiving Sunday you and I also need to be clothed with this grace of giving thanks. We must exhibit it before others. For most of us are long on our demands and complaints . . .